Posttraumatic stress reactions following burglary: The role of coping and personality

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This study aimed to investigate the extent of posttraumatic stress reactions and psychiatric comorbidity following burglary and whether personality traits and coping strategies would relate to outcomes. One hundred twenty-five victims of burglary participated in the study. In addition to reporting information on their personal experiences of burglary, victims completed the Impact of Event Scale, the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-R Short Scale, and the Ways of Coping Checklist. As a group, victims of burglary reported posttraumatic stress symptoms at a medium level of severity, while 41% met the cutoff for the high level of severity. Thirty-eight percent scored above the cutoff for the GHQ-28. Controlling for the characteristics of burglary, neuroticism related only to psychiatric comorbidity. Psychoticism buffered against the effects of both posttraumatic stress and psychiatric outcomes. Low scores on extraversion related to posttraumatic stress. Emotion-focused coping strategies related to both outcomes, while problem-focused coping buffered against the effect of psychiatric comorbid symptoms. No mediational relationships were found between personality traits, coping strategies, and outcomes. Victims of burglary can experience posttraumatic stress reactions associated with burglary and a range of other psychiatric symptoms. Personality traits of psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism influence outcomes in unique ways. Emotion-focused coping is not seemingly helpful in coping with the effects of burglary. © 2014 American Psychological Association.

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